E. Oregon man accused of killing 78-year-old woman

BEND, Ore. — A Pendleton man has been jailed in the killing of a 78-year-old woman who bred horses near Sisters.

Deschutes County authorities say 30-year-old Joshua Leo Jokinen called them Saturday evening to report he might have killed a woman, and the body of Carolyn Burdick was found shortly afterward.

Sheriff Larry Blanton would not describe the cause of death or a motive, and it was unclear whether Burdick and Jokinen knew each other. The sheriff called it a “strange, senseless act.”

Jokinen was to be arraigned Tuesday on a murder charge. It could not immediately be determined who represents him.

Jokinen was living in Madras in Central Oregon when he was convicted of assault in 2006 and sentenced to six years in prison, KTVZ-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1326zEw). Police said Jokinen struck a man several times with a trailer hitch ball in an unprovoked attack.

Sheryl Webb told the Bulletin of Bend (http://bit.ly/17C7VWo) that she has a 10-year-old son with Jokinen, and he has visited the boy since he was released from prison.

She said Jokinen had struggled with drugs. The Bulletin reported that before Jokinen went to prison, he had been convicted of possessing methamphetamine, as well as theft and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Webb said Jokinen was from Sweet Home and lived in Jefferson County most of his life, but most recently was residing and attending school in Pendleton.

The killing occurred in a rural area a few miles east of Sisters where horse farms are common.

Neighbors described Burdick as a former longtime schoolteacher who had lived in Albany. They said she was a churchgoer who bred Arabian horses and had chickens, dogs and two parrots.

“She wouldn’t hurt anybody,” said Vernie Merritt, who lives nearby. “… You wouldn’t want a nicer person for a neighbor.”

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